NMN Supplements: The Next Anti-Aging Craze?

NMN supplements are purportedly useful for anti-aging and brain rejuvenation. Find out what the science says, and compare NMN to NR to find out which one has more proven human trials.

When you see nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) advertised as a dietary supplement, it’s alongside claims of anti-aging, brain health, and improved longevity. How many of these claims have clinical trials to back them up, and how do NMN supplements work? We have the answers.

What Are NMN Supplements?

Nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) is a metabolite that is naturally occurring in the human body and in tiny amounts (less than 2 milligrams per 100 grams) in various foods such as avocados, mushrooms, broccoli, cucumber, cabbage, edamame, tomatoes, shrimp, and raw beef.

Studies have shown that ingesting nicotinamide mononucleotide supplements increases levels of NAD+ in muscle tissue and the liver. Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) is a cofactor found in all living cells that is important in metabolism.

As an NAD+ precursor, NMN supplements may help improve human health in the areas of heart function, eye and bone strength, and energy production, and may even prevent neurological conditions as serious as Alzheimer’s disease. Read on to discover the scientific evidence backing up some of these bold claims, including DNA repair and anti-aging stimulation of the sirtuin genes that influence life extension.

What Are NMN Supplements?The Scientific Evidence Behind NMN Supplements

As NAD boosters and in their own right as a dietary nutrient, NMN supplements have some clinical evidence showing their efficacy.

1. Slows Aging and Physiological Decline

This 2016 animal study found that supplementary NMN helps enhance metabolism, suppress age-related weight gain, improve eye function, boost insulin sensitivity, and prevent age-related changes in gene expression. All of these findings prompted researchers to suggest NMN is an effective anti-aging substance with results that could translate to humans.

2. Delays Stem Cell Deterioration

University studies have found that NMN’s ability to boost NAD+ levels helps to delay senescence (cellular aging) in neural stem cells in laboratory settings. This could help restore adult neurogenesis in the areas of age-related cognitive decline and neurodegenerative disease therapies.

3. Increases Lifespan

Again these results come from animal models, as natural supplements often do not receive the same funding and attention as patented pharmaceutical drugs do. However, the results of this 2014 study show that NMN supplementation helped to increase the median lifespan in old mice, an effect attributed to NMN’s ability to overexpress SIRT2 gene.

4. Rejuvenates the Brain

One more recent study from 2017 reveals that NMN treatment can help reduce brain cell death, brain edema, oxidative stress, and neuroinflammation in instances in which it is administered within 30 minutes of intracerebral hemorrhage. The results of the study show that it not only protects the brain from damage but also helps to restore the brain with prolonged (7 days) application.

The Scientific Evidence Behind NMN Supplements

NR vs. NMN Supplements

The key to NMN supplemental activity is rooted in its role as a NAD precursor, but it’s not the only substance that can influence NAD levels and bring about the previously discussed health benefits. Nicotinamide riboside (NR) is another form of vitamin B3 (niacin), an essential human nutrient that helps regulate our blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Here is how NR and NMN differ as NAD+ supplements.

  • NR is considered a vitamin while NMN is not, but rather is classified as a derivative of niacin (vitamin B3) and metabolite.
  • More human studies have been done with NR over NMN, proving its effectiveness in human subjects in a way that NMN research currently does not, though both are known to be safe for human consumption.
  • That being said, only NR has the United States Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) nod of approval as it is on the generally recognized as safe list (GRAS) while NMN is still classified as a new dietary ingredient (NDI), meaning it’s still under review.

For some, the amount of research available on NR might lead them to try it first, but of course, when taking any dietary supplement, whatever questions you have regarding your health should be directed to a medical professional more familiar with your circumstances.

NR vs. NMN Supplements

Recommended Dosages for NMN Supplements

If you are interested in supplementing with NMN for optimal life and health span, supplement companies like Tru Niagen and Elysium provide instructions on dosage with their products, which should be followed as closely as possible. However, most NMN supplements come with dosage recommendations between 250 and 1500 milligrams per day, with the average usage concentrating on the lower end (below 500 milligrams).

NMN Supplement Side Effects

The FDA does not regulate dietary supplements in the same way as they do food and drugs. Be sure to purchase your supplements from reputable distributors with transparent information about where these substances come from and how they are processed to ensure you’re getting high-quality products.

While NMN is understood to be safe and nontoxic, a few rare side effects reported by some include nausea, sweating, dizziness, and itchiness. If you experience any of these or other symptoms, discontinue taking NMN immediately.

Recommended Dosages for NMN Supplements

Be Super with Supplements

We here at AminoCo know the value of natural supplements, which is why we offer a fully balanced essential amino acid supplement for muscle growth, tissue healing, and liver health. If you have a need for natural supplementation, we only encourage you to make sure the science is on your side.

Can You Walk with a Torn ACL? When to See a Doctor and How Long Recovery Takes

Can you walk with a torn ACL? Find out when it’s time to get medical advice, whether your knee injury requires surgical intervention, and how long ACL recovery takes.

An ACL tear is one of the most common injuries seen in sports medicine, and for that reason, many people wonder: can you walk with a torn ACL? Can a torn ACL heal on its own, or does it require reconstructive surgery? We have a few quick details you can review about ACL injuries, including whether it’s safe to walk around if you suspect you have an ACL tear.

The ACL Explained

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of four ligaments that provide support for the knee along with the PCL (the posterior cruciate ligament, located at the back of the knee), the LCL, and the MCL (the lateral collateral ligament and medial collateral ligament on the outside and inside of the knee joint). The ACL is unique because it runs diagonally through your knee joint and is the major structure stopping your tibia (shinbone) from slipping up behind your knee and in front of your femur (thighbone).

Orthopedic surgeons are very familiar with ACL reconstruction surgeries, and those who work in sports medicine and rehab recognize it quickly. Athletes and weekend warriors who play jumping, twisting sports like soccer and basketball have a high risk of sustaining an ACL injury, and female athletes in particular are at an even higher risk thanks to their unique anatomy and the way their wider hips determine the positioning of their legs.

When your mind is in the game and your body comes to a sudden stop, you may feel and/or hear a pop followed by intense pain: this is likely an ACL injury, and you need to see a doctor right away to begin ACL repair.

The ACL Explained

Can You Walk with a Torn ACL?

Short answer: you can walk with a torn ACL, sometimes, but you absolutely should not.

Some people, especially sports players and professional athletes, have an impressively high pain tolerance, so high that they may try to “walk off” an injury as serious as a ligament tear. This is ill-advised, as the more you move about on an ACL tear, the further damage you do to the ligament. What may have started as a minor, partial ACL tear can develop into a complete ACL tear that requires a total replacement, often made by harvesting connective tissue from other areas of your body like your hamstrings (at the back of your thighs).

If you suspect you have an ACL injury, seek the advice of a health care provider immediately to avoid doing irreparable harm.

ACL Tear Symptoms and Diagnosis

Women are at higher risk of suffering more ACL tears than men due to genetic differences in female muscle elasticity and skeletal anatomy, specifically a narrower intercondylar notch (at the end of the femur) and a wider pelvis that causes them to have a greater Q angle (the angle at which the femur meets the tibia within the knee). That being said, both women and men are susceptible to ACL tears, which means it’s important to recognize the symptoms as quickly as possible so you don’t walk around on a torn ligament. Those symptoms include:

  • A popping sound/sensation at the time of injury
  • Persistent knee pain and an inability to perform normal tasks
  • Rapid swelling and accompanying inflammation
  • A loss of range of motion
  • A feeling of “giving way” or instability under weight bearing

If you have these symptoms, seek medical advice right away. Here is what you may expect from a diagnosis.

  • Physical exam: Your doctor will examine any visible bruising, manipulate the knee to identify where your pain is coming from, most likely while asking questions related to when this pain started and how severe it is.
  • Imaging scans: X-rays and MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging) may be ordered to get a clear picture of your bones and soft tissues. These images help your doctor determine the extent of your injury and advise a course of action.
  • Expert referral: A general practitioner, on diagnosing an issue with your knee ligaments, may refer you to an orthopedic surgeon and/or physical therapist for further targeted care.

Can You Walk with a Torn ACL?

ACL Repair and ACL Recovery Timeline

A damaged ACL can severely limit your range of motion and keep you from participating in sports and other activities you love. A knee injury involving the ligaments requires some form of medical intervention, but not always surgery.

Whether your doctor recommends surgery depends on the severity of your injury and the quality of your health at the time of diagnosis.

  • Nonsurgical solutions: An ACL sprain or partial tear may not need surgery at all, merely sufficient rest and consultation with a physical therapist to avoid further damage and retrain the body to avoid pivoting movements.
  • Surgical solutions: Surgery may be required in cases of a complete ACL tear, but not everyone is a healthy enough candidate for surgery. Young patients and athletes are usually encouraged to accept surgical repair to return to their former activity level, but the physical and financial cost of the procedure may not be warranted for those who cannot afford it, those who lead a sedentary lifestyle, or older adults who are at a high risk of surgical complications.

If surgery is selected, it will be a long process, but maybe not as long as you fear. An arthroscopic knee surgery recovery timeline is measured in weeks rather than months, so if you have an injured knee in January, you may be back to your normal activities by summer.

A partial tear can be simply stitched together to promote healing, and while a complete tear may require a tissue graft from another part of the body (like the patellar tendon of the kneecap) and a longer recovery time, if you’re healthy enough for the surgery, you likely have the resources to recover completely.

Ultimately, the average recovery time after ACL surgery takes between 6 and 9 months, with the majority of that time spent improving day by day with physical therapy. You may be prescribed pain medication to help this process along, or utilize over-the-counter NSAIDs like ibuprofen (Advil), but don’t forget about natural anti-inflammatory and essential amino acid supplements that can help you reduce pain and rebuild tissue without synthetic pharmaceuticals.

The long-term success rates of ACL surgery repairs are between 82% and 95%, which means there’s an excellent chance that your tissue graft will be successful and your knee will be functional again.

ACL Repair and ACL Recovery Timeline

Avoiding ACL Injuries

It’s difficult to fully prevent an ACL injury because accidents can never be fully eliminated. However, if you make sure to stretch and warm up before sporting, if you prioritize a strength-training regimen to make sure your nearby muscles like the quadriceps (the front of the thigh) can help support your knee, and if you embrace equipment such as knee braces to help keep your knee from moving unnaturally, you can minimize your risk of anterior cruciate ligament injuries.

The Non-Sugar Sweetener Allulose: Keto Friendly or Not?

Allulose sweetener: is it a keto-friendly sugar alternative? Is it safe for those with diabetes? Can it help you lose weight and feel great? We have these answers and more. 

Allulose is a natural sugar substitute but is allulose keto? We have a brief rundown of how refined sugar damages your health, where allulose comes from, and how it impacts the keto diet and your overall blood sugar levels and wellness.

What’s Wrong with Refined Sugars?

Natural sugars are found in foods like fruits, veggies, dairy, and even grains, nuts, and seeds. However, white table sugar (otherwise known as sucrose) is derived from sugar cane or sugar beet plants during a damaging refining process. Another refined sugar is the problematic high-fructose corn syrup. Here’s the scoop you should know.

  • Table sugar: The boiling process that derives crystal-white table sugar from sugar cane strips out all of its nutrients. Those nutrients can still be found in products like brown sugar and blackstrap molasses, but it’s missing from your average sugar bowl.
  • High-fructose corn syrup: This substance is made by adding enzymes to corn starch to increase the sweetness of the resulting syrup. High-fructose corn syrup is found in all kinds of foods, from soft drinks to candy to ice cream, as a flavor additive and enhancer.

The problem with these two processed sweeteners is the impact they have on our health. Corn syrup in prepackaged foods that shouldn’t have extra sugars in them at all contributes to weight gain and is a risk factor for developing obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. And refined table sugar has been linked to higher levels of inflammation and greater risk factors for chronic conditions like depression, liver disease, and even cancer.

What's Wrong with Refined Sugars?

What Is Allulose?

When looking for a healthier sugar alternative, many people use allulose or other natural sweeteners like stevia, erythritol, or monk fruit sweetener.

The low-carb sweetener allulose is a naturally occurring simple sugar, or a monosaccharide. It’s only roughly 70% as sweet as sugar, but it has about 95% fewer calories, and it doesn’t spike your blood sugar levels, which means it doesn’t cause any extra risk for type 2 diabetes. Sounds great, but where does it come from?

Also known as d-allulose, d-psicose, and psicose, allulose is found naturally in foods like raisins, figs, and jackfruit. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has allowed food labels to remove allulose from their added sugars count because its impact on your body is so distinct from the harm caused by artificial sweeteners that it simply doesn’t merit inclusion.

Allulose is also on the FDA’s “generally recognized as safe” or GRAS list, and boasts a glycemic index score of zero. For comparison, the glycemic index score of maple syrup is about 54 and table sugar has a GI of about 65. That means that unlike other natural sugar-free and low-calorie sweeteners, allulose doesn’t impact your blood glucose levels at all. In fact, between 70% and 80% of allulose sweetener is excreted in your urine without having any effect on your body outside of sweetening your food for your taste buds.

What Is Allulose?

Is Allulose Keto Friendly?

Is allulose good for those on keto? Yes.

The ketogenic diet is designed to force your body into an alternative metabolic state called ketosis. By denying the body the sugar energy in carbs (glucose), fat must be burned to access ketone bodies. Ketones can sub in for just about every energy need the body has, and they’re especially good for powering the brain as they can cross the blood-brain barrier unaided (glucose cannot).

When your body’s principal source of energy is fat, it seeks out fatty deposits throughout the body, including dangerous visceral fat that resides inside and among your internal organs, fat you can’t see but may be causing cardiovascular and liver damage. Low-carb diets like keto help to eliminate this dangerous body fat, and allulose is a perfect helpmate.

Allulose helps to lower your blood sugar, improve insulin sensitivity, and even works to enhance fat oxidation. It won’t kick you out of ketosis, it’s nearly calorie-free when compared to regular sugar (your body only absorbs about 1/10th of the calories that are contained in allulose), and it still satisfies your sweet tooth so that sticking to the restrictions of a keto diet doesn’t become a disheartening chore with no desserts in sight.

Allulose is a sugar replacement perfect for keto.

Is Allulose Safe for Diabetics?

Human studies have shown that allulose helps to lower blood sugar levels and increase the insulin levels of people with and without diabetes. It improves postprandial (post-meal) blood glucose levels in men and women, including those who are borderline or pre-diabetic.

Animal studies even suggest that allulose may help protect the beta-cells of the pancreas, where insulin is synthesized, though more research in human participants is needed to confirm this benefit.

Is Allulose Good for Weight Loss?

This is another easy answer: yes!

Certainly if you’re on a ketogenic diet, part of your goal is most likely to lose weight rapidly yet safely. And yet, even for those who are just hoping to consume less sugar as part of their weight-loss efforts, allulose can help.

Allulose has shown scientific promise in helping to reduce appetite and treat metabolic disorders. One 12-week study found that daily allulose intake helped reduce waist circumference and stimulate weight loss, and similar results were found in another 2018 study. The cause of these amazing results could be what was demonstrated in an animal model; allulose triggered the release of GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide 1), which stimulates insulin release, improves insulin sensitivity, and helps reduce feelings of hunger.

It’s not just your weight and your waistline that can improve with allulose intake. Some animal studies indicate that allulose may independently help reduce the fat accumulation in the liver that leads to fatty liver disease.

You can use allulose to make keto, paleo, and gluten-free recipes for marshmallows, cheesecake, caramel pudding, sugar-free chocolate syrup, and snickerdoodles, and still lose body weight and be healthier at the end of the day.

Potential Allulose Side Effects

Small quantities of allulose are perfectly safe for human consumption, and clinical trials have shown that people can consume as many as 15 grams of allulose every day for 3 months straight without experiencing any adverse side effects. However, there are some potential discomforts associated with allulose that you should be aware of. Possible side effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating
  • Gastrointestinal upset

When trying any new food or supplement, listen to your body to make sure it agrees with you before going overboard. Many natural sweeteners and sugar alcohols like xylitol often give people a metallic aftertaste, so if you experience that, just know that it’s normal and maybe shop around for other sugar alternatives if it’s too unpleasant.

All Hail Allulose

There are a lot of sugar alternatives out there from different sources, some of them naturally derived and some synthetic, but most are still healthier than refined white table sugar. Rest assured that no matter which you choose, cutting down on refined sugar is a great boon to your health that can help you lose weight, prevent diabetes, and feel better than ever.

Glutathione: What It Is, Why You Need It, and How You Can Increase It

Glutathione is one of the most important molecules in the body, but most people have never heard of it. So come with us as we discuss what glutathione is, why you need it, and what you can do to increase it.

Glutathione is one of the most important substances in the body, but if you’re like most people, you’ve probably never even heard of it. So, in this article, we’re going to talk about what glutathione is, why you need it, and what you can do to increase levels of glutathione and boost your health.

What Is Glutathione and Why Is it Important?

Composed of the amino acids cysteine, glutamic acid, and glycine, gamma-glutamyl-L-cysteinyl glycine, or glutathione (GSH), is a tripeptide thiol that’s present in large concentrations in the cytosol and organelles of every cell. Glutathione plays such an important role in antioxidant defense that it’s known as the body’s master antioxidant.

Master antioxidant?

Yes.

You see, not only is the role of glutathione in protecting the body from oxidative stress not to be overstated, but this powerful antioxidant can also regenerate other antioxidants, including vitamins C and E.

Glutathione also plays an important role in the detoxification process via its use as a cofactor. For example, it’s required by peroxidase enzymes for the neutralization of harmful peroxides—including lipid peroxides, which form when lipids interact with free radicals.

In addition, it’s used by transhydrogenases to stop the oxidation of DNA and proteins and by glutathione S-transferase (GST) to bind to toxins and xenobiotics.

But as important as neutralizing reactive oxygen species like free radicals, aiding detoxification, staving off oxidative damage, and regenerating other antioxidants are, they aren’t the only functions glutathione has.

Glutathione also helps the body metabolize nutrients from the foods we eat, aids energy production, and assists in the regulation of cellular processes, including those that control:

  • Gene expression
  • Protein and DNA synthesis
  • Cell proliferation and apoptosis
  • Immune system response

And because it contains the sulfur-bearing amino acid cysteine, glutathione naturally binds to heavy metals like mercury (via glutathione S-transferase) and prevents them from entering the body’s cells, where they can cause organ damage.

What Is Glutathione?

As you can see, the role glutathione plays in health and wellness is immense. However, just because the body can make its own glutathione doesn’t mean it’s always able to maintain adequate levels of this vital molecule.

On the contrary, a number of factors can affect glutathione levels and even lead to glutathione deficiency.

Glutathione Deficiency: What Causes It and What Does It Look Like?

Because glutathione is constantly interacting with free radicals and becoming oxidized, glutathione production never stops. During this process, glutathione transforms into glutathione disulfide, or oxidized glutathione (GSSG), and is regenerated—with the help of an energy source like glucose—by the enzyme glutathione reductase (GR).

When the body is healthy, this glutathione synthesis is carried out smoothly. However, genetic mutations and modern ills like poor diet, chronic stress, and exposure to toxins can affect the body’s ability to manufacture adequate levels of glutathione and lead to glutathione deficiency.

With all the health benefits associated with glutathione, it makes sense that a deficiency in this important antioxidant would be associated with a number of negative side effects.

And it is.

In fact, glutathione deficiency has been linked to a number of health issues, including:

However, the good news is that there are several strategies that can help you increase your glutathione levels.

What Causes Glutathione Deficiency?

8 Ways to Increase Glutathione Levels

Even if you don’t have a genetic mutation that compromises your body’s ability to manufacture adequate levels of glutathione, life in the modern world means that most of us are probably suffering from glutathione deficiency.

But boosting glutathione may be as simple as following these seven guidelines.

1. Eat More Sulfur-Rich Foods

As mentioned, glutathione contains the sulfur-bearing amino acid cysteine. By eating more foods rich in sulfur, levels of this important amino acid can be increased, thus aiding glutathione synthesis.

Sulfur-rich foods include:

  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Kale
  • Collard greens
  • Cabbage
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Arugula

2. Get Plenty of Exercise

We all know exercise is good for us. After all, it strengthens muscles and bones, helps prevent heart disease and diabetes, and even elevates mood. But did you know it can also boost glutathione levels?

In fact, several studies have found a link between regular exercise and glutathione production, including a study published in the European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation, which found that both aerobic exercise and resistance training have significant impacts on glutathione metabolism.

And the most noteworthy effects? Those are seen with a combination of the two.

3. Avoid Excessive Alcohol Intake

While alcohol consumption is perfectly fine, and even healthy, in moderation, chronic alcohol abuse is associated with increased oxidation and decreased glutathione levels.

However, a study published in the journal Nutrition found that drinking 500 milliliters of alcohol-free beer a day actually results in increased levels of glutathione.

How big an increase? A whopping 29%!

4. Work on Your Sleep

We mentioned earlier that chronic stress is linked to decreases in glutathione. One of the most important ways to reduce stress is getting plenty of sleep. However, according to the American Sleep Association, approximately a third of adults in the United States deal with intermittent insomnia while 1 in 10 suffer with chronic sleep loss.

This is unfortunate, as studies have found that poor sleep is itself a form of stress and can lead to decreases in glutathione levels and oxidative damage.

So if you’re having trouble sleeping or just don’t feel refreshed when you wake up to start your day, be sure to speak with your health care provider about steps you can take to improve your sleep.

5. Try Meditating

We’ve all heard about the benefits of meditation for stress and mood. But did you know that meditation can also help boost your glutathione levels?

In fact, multiple studies have documented a link between meditation and increased glutathione.

For example, a study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that a regular program of meditation combined with yoga can increase levels of glutathione by an astonishing 41%.

And a study published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research found that meditation increases glutathione levels by 20%.

6. Take B Vitamins and Selenium

Folate, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 are all required for the conversion of homocysteine into the sulfur-containing amino acid methionine.

Why is this important?

As the only other sulfur-containing amino acid, methionine can be used by the body to make cysteine. And the folate, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 involved in converting homocysteine into methionine? All three of these vitamins are also required for glutathione synthesis.

Food sources of folate, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 include:

  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Dairy products
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Peanuts
  • Soybeans
  • Chickpeas

Similarly, the mineral selenium acts as a cofactor for glutathione and helps regulate the activity of glutathione peroxidase. Good sources of selenium include:

  • Brazil nuts
  • Meat
  • Poultry
  • Eggs
  • Cottage cheese
  • Spinach
  • Cashews
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Oats

7. Boost Antioxidant Intake

As mentioned earlier, glutathione has the ability to regenerate other antioxidants. But other antioxidants can help regenerate glutathione levels too. According to research, it appears they do this in two ways: by scavenging free radicals before glutathione has to and by assisting in glutathione regeneration.

A clinical trial published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that just 500 milligrams of vitamin C a day leads to an almost 50% increase in levels of red blood cell glutathione.

Likewise, a clinical trial published in the journal Diabetes Care found that diabetic children supplemented with 100 International Units of vitamin E daily experienced significant increases in glutathione along with substantial decreases in lipid peroxidation.

In addition, a clinical trial published in the journal Redox Report noted that the antioxidant alpha-lipoic acid has the ability to regenerate other antioxidants, including vitamin E, vitamin C, and glutathione.

8. Supplement with Amino Acids

We’ve already noted that glutathione is made up of three amino acids: cysteine, glutamic acid, and glycine. Therefore, it makes sense that maintaining an adequate supply of these amino acids will help ensure stable levels of glutathione.

This can be accomplished through diet and by supplementing with a balanced formula of amino acids. Good food sources of cysteine, glutamic acid, and glycine include:

  • Meat
  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • Dairy products
  • Whole grains
  • Whey protein

Levels of cysteine can also be increased by supplementing with the cysteine precursor N-acetylcysteine (NAC). If this term seems familiar, it’s probably because NAC is widely used in hospitals for the prevention of liver damage due to acetaminophen overdose.

N-acetylcysteine is such a potent glutathione precursor that it’s even listed in the World Health Organization (WHO) Model List of Essential Medicines for use as an antidote in cases of poisoning.

Boost Your Health with Glutathione

Glutathione is a truly remarkable substance with a long list of health benefits. What’s more, there’s even evidence to suggest that increasing levels of glutathione may lead to greater lifespan.

So if you’re suffering from risk factors that increase your chances of compromised glutathione production, or even if you just live in the modern world, don’t forget this important molecule. By instituting the eight simple tips listed in this article, you can help boost levels of the aptly named master antioxidant—and your health.

8 Ways to Increase Glutathione Levels

The 10 Best Anti-Aging Supplements for Health and Longevity

Who doesn’t want to live a longer, healthier life? But with so many anti-aging supplements on the market today, it can be hard to choose what works and what’s just hype. But don’t worry. Because we’ve done the research and uncovered the 10 best anti-aging supplements for health and longevity.

Ask just about anyone, and they’ll probably tell you that they’d like to live a longer, healthier life. And if there were a magic supplement that promised to extend their lives while keeping them looking and feeling young, they’d gladly take it. Of course, no such dietary supplement exists…yet. But what if we told you that some supplements actually have shown promise in slowing the aging process? Want to learn more? Then we invite you to come with us as we explore the 10 best anti-aging supplements for slowing the signs of aging and increasing both health and longevity.

The 10 Best Anti-Aging Supplements

Whether you’re interested in anti-aging benefits for your skin, body, brain, or all three, these 10 anti-aging supplements have been shown in studies to be the best at supporting the body in its fight against oxidative stress, inflammation, and other factors known to speed up the aging process.

10 Best Anti-Aging Supplements

1. Antioxidant Vitamins

Every moment we’re alive, we’re bombarded with free radicals. Although these atoms are natural byproducts of the biochemical reactions that take place each day inside the body, they also have unpaired electrons. Which means free radicals are constantly seeking to stabilize themselves by stealing electrons from other atoms. And this just creates more free radicals.

Without sufficient antioxidants to neutralize these rogue molecules, free radicals can eventually get out of control. And this can cause inflammation, DNA damage, and decreased cellular energy production. Over time, this oxidative stress may result in any number of degenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, arthritis, and cancer.

One of the best ways to neutralize excess free radicals and protect the body from cellular damage is to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, which are rich in antioxidants, including vitamins A, C, and E. However, studies have found that supplementing with these essential nutrients may also have significant health benefits.

For example, a study published in the journal Archives of Ophthalmology found that individuals who supplemented with vitamins A (in the form of beta-carotene), C, and E plus zinc experienced a decreased risk of age-related macular degeneration.

And a study published in the journal BioMed Research International noted that retinol and other vitamin A derivatives are crucial for healthy vision, skin, and bones. What’s more, researchers noted that adequate supplies of vitamin A are necessary for wound healing, cardiovascular health, and cancer prevention.

Like vitamin A, vitamin C is a potent antioxidant with known benefits for health. It’s also been found to protect the body from exercise-induced oxidative stress.

For example, a study published in the journal Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity found that supplementation with vitamin C markedly decreases exercise-associated lipid peroxidation—a destructive process in which lipids degrade in the presence of free radicals.

Vitamin C is also known to boost the immune system, assist with wound healing, and protect brain function from free radical damage.

What’s more, vitamin C plays an integral part in healthy skin. In fact, healthy skin contains high concentrations of vitamin C, which is known to boost collagen production (also necessary for healthy joints) and protect against damage from UV radiation—a known risk factor in the development of skin cancer.

Unfortunately, skin concentrations of vitamin C diminish with age. However, a study published in the journal Nutrients noted that vitamin C supplementation can reverse many of the signs of skin aging by boosting collagen production—thus improving skin elasticity and the appearance of fine lines—protecting the skin from UV damage and minimizing scar formation.

Vitamin E is also a powerful antioxidant with proven health benefits. A large clinical trial published in the journal Age and Ageing found that men who smoked less than a pack of cigarettes per day and also took supplemental vitamin E—in combination with vitamin C—experienced an increase in lifespan of approximately 2 years over those in the control group.

2. Alpha-Lipoic Acid

Alpha-lipoic acid is a sulfur derivative that’s produced naturally within the body’s mitochondria—the energy centers of the cells.

Although alpha-lipoic acid plays an important role in metabolism and helps the body’s enzymes convert nutrients into energy, it’s also known to act as an antioxidant and to possess potent anti-inflammatory activity. Even though the body has the ability to produce its own alpha-lipoic acid, it creates only tiny amounts. Therefore, alpha-lipoic acid is often used as a dietary supplement.

One of the most remarkable aspects of alpha-lipoic acid is that it’s both fat- and water-soluble and has the ability to regenerate other antioxidants, including vitamin C. It’s also widely used in the treatment of diabetic neuropathy and multiple sclerosis.

What’s more, a recent study published in the journal Biomolecules noted that alpha-lipoic acid has great potential in the treatment and prevention of age-related health conditions, including cognitive decline.

3. Coenzyme Q10

Like alpha-lipoic acid, coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), is an antioxidant the body normally produces on its own. Although CoQ10 is required by the body’s cells for normal energy production, levels decrease with age and certain health conditions, including chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD) and heart disease.

As part of its role as antioxidant, CoQ10 is also known to play an important role in skin health, helping to protect the skin from UV damage and guard against skin cancer and premature skin aging.

According to a review published in the Journal of Pharmacy & Bioallied Sciences, CoQ10 may also be useful in the treatment and prevention of numerous age-related diseases, including heart disease, cancer, and Parkinson’s disease.

Another review published in the journal Frontiers in Physiology noted similar findings and concluded that CoQ10 improves energy production, provides antioxidant protection for the body’s tissues and organs, and reduces symptoms commonly associated with aging.

4. Nicotinamide Riboside

One of the hottest new trends in anti-aging supplements is nicotinamide riboside, a form of niacin, or vitamin B3. Nicotinamide riboside is converted in the body into the coenzyme nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), which repairs damaged DNA and helps convert nutrients into energy and regulate cellular processes.

However, like both alpha-lipoic acid and CoQ10, levels of NAD+ decline with age. Yet NAD+ is so important to normal bodily processes that studies have linked the decline of this coenzyme to a number of age-related conditions, including metabolic disorders and cognitive decline.

One of the reasons for this is thought to be related to the role NAD+ plays in the activity of specialized proteins called sirtuins. These proteins are known to play a crucial part in regulating the aging process. They’re also linked to the health benefits seen with a calorie-restricted diet. However, sirtuins can’t function properly without sufficient levels of NAD+.

Researchers behind a study published in the journal F1000 Research even went so far as to state that decreases in NAD+ are “one of the fundamental molecular events that regulate the process of aging” and, potentially, lifespan.

5. Green Tea

When it comes to antioxidants, few things can rival the power of green tea. In fact, it’s jam-packed with so many powerful antioxidants that many scientists say it’s the healthiest thing you can drink.

Green tea is best known for a group of polyphenols called catechins. These powerful plant chemicals act as antioxidants and are also known to possess significant anti-inflammatory activity.

Green tea has also been found in studies to lower blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure and to protect the brain from the accumulation of plaques associated with the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

In addition, a large study published in JAMA found that consumption of green tea was inversely associated with all causes of death—especially stroke—in Japanese adults 40 to 79 years of age.

6. Pterostilbene

If you keep up with the latest trends in antioxidants, you’re no doubt familiar with resveratrol—a polyphenol found in blueberries, peanuts, pistachios, Japanese knotweed, and red wine.

Resveratrol first became popular in the mid-2000s, when it was touted by marketers as an anti-aging wonder molecule after it was found in studies to extend the lifespans of certain non-mammalian species. But scientists were more cautious, especially in light of resveratrol’s poor bioavailability.

Still, a review published in the journal PLoS One concluded that, while there wasn’t enough evidence to support regular supplementation with resveratrol, animal studies were promising with regard to its potential role in improving heart health and preventing cancer and diabetes.

And a review published in the journal Biomedicines concluded that resveratrol is a powerful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory, anticarcinogenic, cardioprotective, antiviral, and neuroprotective properties, and that derivatives of resveratrol are among the most promising anti-inflammatories.

What’s more, it’s widely recognized that, like NAD+, resveratrol helps activate sirtuins. Yet the problems of poor bioavailability remain.

Enter pterostilbene.

It may sound like the latest dinosaur discovery, but pterostilbene is closely related to resveratrol and has been found to possess many of the same properties.

However, the structure of pterostilbene is different enough that it’s been shown to be 4 times as bioavailable as resveratrol, with a half-life that’s over 7 times greater—which means that pterostilbene is more easily taken up by the body’s cells and remains active longer.

It’s important to point out that, compared with resveratrol, the research into pterostilbene is still in its infancy. But there’s already good reason to believe that its increased bioavailability and greater half-time may make pterostilbene the new resveratrol.

7. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

If you’ve been hearing a lot about omega-3 fatty acids lately, it’s for good reason. These essential nutrients are required for healthy cell membranes, hormone production, and blood clotting. They also help the body absorb vitamin D and regulate which genes are turned on and which are turned off.

What’s more, omega-3 fatty acids are known to act as both antioxidants and anti-inflammatories and have even been shown in numerous studies to assist in the prevention of many chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

In addition, a review published in the journal Nutrients noted that supplementing with or eating more foods rich in these important fats, including fish, flaxseeds, and leafy greens, may help stave off cognitive decline as we age.

8. Probiotics

Many people don’t realize it, but probiotics may very well be the foundation of good health. After all, without a healthy balance of gut flora, immune system health and even mood suffer.

What’s more, studies have found that imbalances in gut bacteria are linked to increases in age-related immune system decline and inflammatory diseases, and that taking a high-quality probiotic supplement may help stave off these health problems.

In addition, a review published in the journal BioMed Research International found that a combination of supplemental probiotics and a diet rich in phytoestrogenic polyphenols (found in foods like soy products and flaxseeds) may work together to reduce many of the conditions commonly associated with aging, including cancer.

9. Turmeric

We all know turmeric as the yellow-orange spice that gives curry its distinctive color. However, thanks to a compound called curcumin, it’s also one of the most powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatories.

One of the reasons turmeric is considered such a potent antioxidant is that it not only acts as an antioxidant, but it also stimulates the production of glutathione, the body’s master antioxidant.

The powerful properties of turmeric have made it a subject of multiple studies, which have found it to have benefits for arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and even inflammatory bowel disease.

In addition, a review published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences found that turmeric supports a healthy gut microbiome, helps regulate autophagy, and may even extend lifespan.

10. Amino Acids

We’re all aware that advancing age brings with it wrinkles and gray hair. And we all know that, as we age, we lose muscle mass and it becomes more difficult to exercise as long and as hard as we did when we were young. These are some of the main reasons anti-aging supplements are such big business!

But did you know that all of these processes are intricately linked to amino acids?

You see, amino acids are the building blocks of protein, and protein is essential for the proper functioning of almost every biological process. But as we age, it becomes more difficult to build new protein.

This anabolic resistance has widespread implications for health. Because as we lose muscle mass, we become more susceptible to disease. And that means our risk of heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease, osteoarthritis, cancer, type 2 diabetes, cognitive decline—you name it—increases.

But by eating a healthy diet and taking a balanced formula of essential amino acids—the amino acids the body can’t make on its own and must obtain from food or supplements—you give your body the building blocks it requires to overcome age-related anabolic resistance and create the proteins it must have to keep the body’s muscles strong and tissues and organs healthy.

Final Thoughts…

Let’s face it, Silicon Valley optimism aside, we may never find the secret to turning the clock back for good. But with proper diet and exercise and the strategic use of anti-aging supplements, science has shown us that it’s entirely within our grasp to look younger, stay more active, and remain healthier far longer than ever before. And that may add not only quantity but also, and perhaps more importantly, quality to all the years of our lives.

How to Gain Weight with Diabetes: 5 Proven Techniques to Reverse Diabetic Weight Loss the Healthy Way

Most of us think of weight gain when we think of diabetes. But did you know that many people with diabetes actually lose weight? In this article, we’re taking a look at five proven techniques to help you gain back lost weight the healthy way.

While we commonly think of weight gain when we think of diabetes, the truth is that both undiagnosed diabetes and improper diabetes management can lead to low body weight. But what causes this and what can be done about it? In this article, we’re going to take a look at these questions, discuss how to gain weight with diabetes, and share some proven techniques to get your weight back up in the normal range and keep it there.

What Causes Diabetic Weight Loss?

In a word, insulin—or, rather, the body’s response to this important hormone.

To describe the process that leads to diabetic weight loss, it may be helpful to first illustrate the role insulin plays in insulin resistance.

Insulin is released by the pancreas so that glucose can be transported into the cells for use as energy. However, if blood sugar levels are consistently elevated, the pancreas must produce more and more insulin to keep up with the demand.

Over time, rising blood glucose levels eventually overwhelm the ability of the pancreas to keep up. This results in damage to the pancreatic cells that produce insulin, which in turn can lead to symptoms of prediabetes and, eventually, type 2 diabetes mellitus.

In a somewhat ironic twist, when the cells of the pancreas become damaged to the point where they can no longer keep up with the demands for insulin, the body’s ability to move blood sugar into the cells for use as energy is compromised.

But the cells must have energy to survive, so if insufficient insulin is available, the body turns to its next best sources of energy: fat and muscle.

As you might imagine, a side effect of turning to fat and muscle for energy can be a decrease in body mass index (BMI)—a process that can occur quite suddenly.

In fact, sudden unexpected weight loss, which is seen with both type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes, is often the first symptom to alert an individual something is wrong.

How Insulin Resistance Can Lead to Diabetic Weight Loss

How to Gain Weight with Diabetes

If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes and are underweight, how do you regain the weight and find your way back to a healthier you?

And, perhaps more importantly, how do you reverse diabetic weight loss without spiking your blood sugar?

1. Track Your Calories

Before you can begin to reverse diabetic weight loss, you first need to know how many calories you have to consume each day to get back to your ideal weight. The easiest way to ensure you get and stay on the right track is by working with a dietitian, certified diabetes educator, or other qualified health care professional.

There are also a number of apps available that can help you track your caloric intake as well as the impact different foods may have on blood sugar levels. Some of the most popular are:

  • Diabetes In Check
  • Glooko
  • SuperTracker
  • GlucOracle
  • Fooducate

2. Eat Frequent Small Meals

To keep your body gaining weight and not burning through fat and muscle tissue, it’s important to make sure you’re consuming a steady supply of calories. And this means eating multiple times a day—even if you’re not hungry.

So if you’re currently eating the standard three meals a day, you should instead up that to six smaller meals so you’re eating approximately every 2 to 3 hours.

While this may seem like a lot of eating, it’s actually the best way to keep your metabolism functioning at its best. In addition, smaller, more frequent meals are a great way to avoid both high and low blood sugar levels.

3. Eat Plenty of Healthy Foods

When it comes to eating to gain weight—especially when you’re already dealing with diabetes—it’s all about quality.

While loading up on extra calories in the form of saturated fat and sugar may seem like the fastest way to pack on the pounds, it’s also a disaster waiting to happen for anyone diagnosed with diabetes. Luckily, it’s possible to up your calorie count and still maintain healthy blood glucose levels.

What’s the secret?

Eating a diet that emphasizes nutrient-rich foods like lean protein, healthy fats, and low-glycemic carbohydrates.

Protein

When choosing protein, try to avoid fatty and processed meat. Instead, opt for healthier forms of protein, including:

  • Lean beef
  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Grass-fed dairy products
  • Nut butters, such as almond and peanut butter
  • Nuts, such as cashews and walnuts
  • Seeds, such as sunflower and pumpkin seeds

Fat

It’s a fact of life that the body can’t survive without fat. However, not all fats are created equal, especially when you’re living with diabetes, which automatically puts you at higher risk of heart disease and stroke.

So limit your intake of common sources of saturated fat, including fried and processed foods, margarine, and vegetable shortening. Instead, load up on:

  • Fatty fish
  • Olive oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Flaxseeds

Carbs

Just like protein and fat, carbs can be either good or bad. While foodstuffs like white bread, soda, pastries, and chips can spike your blood sugar, other carbs are more slowly digested. Good carbs to include in your weight-gaining meal plan are:

  • Low-glycemic fruits, such as berries, apples, and pears
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Legumes
  • Nuts
  • Seeds

4. Start Resistance Training

While you may think of exercise as something you do to lose weight, resistance exercise can actually help you gain weight.

How?

By increasing muscle mass.

Earlier we mentioned how difficulties with the utilization of insulin can lead the body to turn to its own fat and muscle stores as it searches for ways of providing itself with the energy it needs to survive.

Although many of us would be happy to lose a few pounds, we never want to lose muscle mass. Not only can loss of muscle compromise the ability to engage in physical activity, but excessive muscle loss can also increase the risk of disease.

But engaging in resistance training can help you hold on to the muscle you have and rebuild anything you’ve lost. Plus, whether you decide to hit the free weights and weight machines at the gym or work with resistance bands or your own body weight against gravity in the comfort of your own home, resistance exercises are some of the simplest exercises to do.

What’s more, increasing your activity level also boosts your appetite—and that can help you gain weight even faster.

5. Take Amino Acids

In addition to a healthy diet, frequent small meals, and resistance exercise, one of the best ways to help reverse diabetic weight loss is to supplement with amino acids.

As mentioned in the previous section, excessive muscle loss is associated with an increased risk of disease. So when you’re working to regain weight lost as a result of diabetes, it’s important that the majority of your gains come from muscle, not fat.

And that’s where amino acids come in.

As the building blocks of protein, amino acids are vital for muscle growth. In fact, without a balanced supply of the 20 amino acids required for protein-building—especially the 9 essential amino acids we must obtain from our diet—our muscles begin to break down.

However, by eating plenty of high-quality protein, including the sources mentioned earlier—as well as various protein powders—and supplementing with a balanced blend of essential amino acids, muscle growth is enhanced and resistance training becomes even more effective.

If you’ve been experiencing unexplained weight loss of more than 5% of your body weight, be sure to seek the medical advice of a qualified health care professional. If diabetes is found to be the cause, your health care provider or dietitian can help you get your blood glucose levels under control and provide the guidance and support you need as you find your way back to a healthy weight.

How to Gain Weight with Diabetes

Why Do Wounds Itch? The Healing Process and How to Accelerate It Naturally

Why do wounds itch, and what can you do to safely relieve that itching sensation? Discover what factors lead to itchiness during wound healing, what can relieve the itch naturally, and how to recover faster with amino acids.

Wound care, cleaning, and support are essential to the healing process, whether you’re recovering from a scraped knee or major surgery. When we get our first scabs as children, many people wonder, “Why do wounds itch?” This article has the answer to this question, plus tips for reducing that maddening itch, and one key scientifically backed aid that helps your wounds heal faster.

The Wound-Healing Process

Here’s a quick run-down of the four stages of wound healing.

  1. The hemostasis phase: This phase is also known as the bleeding stage. At the point of injury the body immediately responds with lymphatic fluid to cause coagulation (blood clotting) and stop the blood loss as quickly as possible.
  2. The inflammatory phase: This is also called the defensive stage and can last up to a week, even for minor injuries. To defend against possible wound infection, the body sends white blood cells to the area, which may cause symptoms of swelling and inflammation that you can reduce naturally if it’s uncomfortable or painful.
  3. The proliferative phase: This is the tissue and blood vessel regrowth period sometimes referred to as the granulation stage. It can last up to a month and may come with visual signs of healing like scabs that protect the new skin cells that grow beneath.
  4. The maturation phase: Also known as the scarring stage or the remodeling stage, this phase of healing could last for years depending on wound severity. For a simple scrape, however, this is the part of the healing process when the scab falls off and the new tissue created begins to build flexibility and strength, and new collagen fibers are formed from scar tissue.

The itching you feel during healing predominately takes place during the third stage (the proliferative phase).

The 4 Stages of Wound Healing

Why Do Wounds Itch?

“Itching” is medically referred to as pruritus. It is commonly said that when a wound is itching, it’s healing, and guess what? It’s true. Wound itch is a sign of healing, and here’s why.

The nerve fibers beneath your skin are highly sensitive. If you feel the movement of an insect, a hair, or a feather across your skin, your body may recognize it as an irritant to be slapped away and dealt with. Healing wounds trigger that same reaction because the healing process involves tissue growth, skin tightening, and sometimes irritation in the affected area. When your nerves communicate this information via your spinal cord, the brain interprets it as an itch.

Another factor that may be causing an itching sensation at your injury site is the chemical histamine, which the body releases to help boost skin cell regrowth. Histamine can cause the symptoms of an allergic reaction (including itching), which is why those who experience allergies often take antihistamines to reduce their symptoms.

We’re not done yet: another possible culprit behind your maddening itch could be dry skin. When scabs first form they are moist and relatively supple, but as the healing process goes on, scabs tend to dry out. Scabs that become scaly and stiff may tug uncomfortably at the dry skin surrounding the area. This stimulates an itchy feeling that makes many want to scratch and pick at their scabs, which any health care provider would advise you not to do. Scratching at a healing wound could cause it to reopen, and tearing off a scab increases your risk of infection and exposure to dirt, harsh sunlight, and other environmental irritants.

If itchy skin or scabs are driving you mad, read on to discover some safe, natural ways to ease the itch without scratching.

Why Do Wounds Itch?

How to Safely Relieve Wound Itchiness

If you’re interested in specific advice or a personal recommendation for soothing antiseptic products, ask a trusted health care professional. For general advice on how to ease wound itch without harming or further irritating the area, here are some tips.

1. Clean and Protect

The first bit of medical advice anyone could give you regarding a new wound is to clean it. With warm water and mild soap, be sure to cleanse the area and remove any dirt or debris that may be stuck to the wound. Once the area is clean, you may want to apply a bandage for the first day or so to keep any foreign particles or germs from finding their way back in.

Consider using an antibacterial aid like Neosporin under the bandaid to help neutralize any bacteria. If you experience itching under your bandage, a cold compress applied for 20 minutes or less can help reduce that sensation and minimize painful inflammation.

Once your body begins to heal and a scab starts to form, you can let the wound breathe again: scabs are your body’s natural bandaid.

2. Moisturize

We don’t mean slather an open wound with scented lotion, but by keeping the skin surrounding the base of the wound properly moisturized with mild lotion, you can reduce itchiness and allow your skin to move more freely around a forming scab. This reduces instances of hardened scabs cracking in half and reexposing the raw area to the elements.

3. Dress for Success

Around whatever wound dressing you may have for the area itself, wear loose-fitting, soft clothing. Tight, stiff, or abrasive material like denim could irritate and reinjure the area, which may lead to chronic wound issues by slowing down the healing process and needlessly taxing the immune system.

By wearing breathable clothing, you reduce the risk of sweat buildup around the injury as well, which helps keep the wound clean and happy.

4. Anti-Itch Creams, Medications, and Natural Remedies

Over-the-counter medications that contain cortisone can be used to help reduce itchiness, as can anti-itch creams like calamine lotion, or better yet, healing ointments. All-natural itch relief can also be found in aloe vera plants and mint, which contains the gentle yet mildly numbing compound menthol.

5. Behavior Modification

For unopened but itchy wounds like mosquito bites, one way to avoid scratching the area repeatedly is to simply use your fingernail to press an X shape over the bite. That relieves the itching sensation without breaking the skin and further inflaming the area. For opened or scabbed wounds, applying pressure to the skin around the wound can help you relieve the urge to scratch too, as it satisfies the perception issues of your nerves.

How to Safely Relieve Wound Itchiness

How to Speed Wound Healing

The only action that truly heals a wound is new tissue generation and growth. That new tissue creation cannot happen without all nine of the essential amino acids, called “essential” because we get can only get them from protein foods or supplementation and cannot generate them ourselves. An imbalance of these nutrients in the body could delay your healing, or more destructively, cause the breakdown of nearby healthy cells in order to harvest the needed material to repair an open wound. When the body is hurt, it prioritizes its resources and takes what it needs without asking.

Our last recommendation for any form of wound healing (from scabs to surgery recovery) is to take a balanced amino acid supplement like the one developed by our own Dr. Robert Wolfe. That way your body has what it needs to heal your wound as quickly, safely, and naturally as possible.

An Itch You Can’t Scratch

It’s important to control your impulse to scratch at a newly healing injury, as further irritation could cause chronic damage or a dangerous infection. There are many ways you can minimize the itching sensation and boost your recovery time during the wound-healing process: take care of the affected area, soothe it safely, and clear the path to recovery so that your body can heal itself in record time.

Hip Replacement Recovery: How Amino Acids Can Make the Difference

Learn what’s involved in hip replacement surgery, a few tips for preparing your home for a safe recovery, and find out how amino acid supplementation can get you back on your feet as quickly as possible.

A hip replacement is a major surgery that requires extensive recovery time and physical therapy to regain your full range of motion. What is the timeline for hip replacement recovery and how can amino acids get you back on your feet faster? We have the scientific findings that could vastly improve your hip replacement recovery.

What Is Hip Replacement Surgery?

Total hip replacement is also known as total hip arthroplasty, a surgical procedure in which the bone and cartilage of the hip joint are replaced with synthetic material.

The hip joint is a ball-and-socket joint that can become damaged or diseased, which may cause debilitating pain and make daily movement and activity impossible without a cane or wheelchair. The “socket” is the cup-shaped part of the pelvis (the acetabulum) and the “ball” is the head of the femur (thighbone). During a total hip replacement procedure, both of these elements are replaced with an artificial ceramic or plastic cup (an acetabular prosthesis) and a metallic ball and stem (a femoral prosthesis).

Once those prosthetic parts are in position, the surgeon usually fixes them in place with methyl methacrylate, a bone cement. However, there is also an option for a “cementless” hip replacement that allows the femur bone to grow into the prosthetic stem—this procedure has a longer lifespan and is preferred for younger patients who require a hip replacement.

What Is Hip Replacement Surgery?

When Is It Time for a Hip Replacement?

More than 300,000 people in the U.S. have hip replacement surgery each year. They opt for this surgery in the hopes it will eliminate the pain in their hip joint and allow them to return to normal activities like walking, playing with grandkids, enjoying a round of golf, dancing, and more. For some, this means a total hip replacement, and for others, a partial, but in both circumstances recovery and rehab after hip surgery can take a long time.

Specifically, hip replacement recovery time takes between 10 to 12 weeks if everything goes according to plan and there are no complications that cause a set-back or extended hospital stay. Luckily, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons reports that 95% of hip replacement patients experience a successful recovery and relief from hip pain, but it still isn’t an easy option to choose.

Reasons for hip replacement surgery include:

  • Osteoarthritis: This degenerative wear-and-tear arthritis results from damage done to the cartilage caps of your femur bones.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: An autoimmune disorder that causes chronic inflammation which over time can erode the cartilage and bone in the hips and other affected joints.
  • Osteonecrosis: The ball of the femur bone may deform, collapse, and die if there is inadequate blood supply to the area. This naturally causes joint pain in the hip and requires replacement.
  • Traumatic injury: Damage like fractures due to accidents or falls could damage the hip enough to necessitate a total replacement.
  • Drug or alcohol damage: Chronic use of prednisolone or prednisone could cause hip bone necrosis, as could long-term alcoholism.
  • Systemic disease: A disease like systemic lupus erythematosus could damage the hip and other parts of the body enough to require medical intervention.

The Step-by-Step Guide to Hip Replacement Recovery

When the decision is made to have hip replacement surgery and the operation is complete, you’ll find yourself in the recovery room with a lot of work to do. Here is a general guideline on what you can expect.

1. Pain Control

The first day after a hip replacement is painful and involves a heavy amount of pain medications to manage. Even light activities like going to the bathroom and sitting on the toilet seat need to be done with the assistance of a nurse. After a day or two, the pain settles into a horrible ache (likened to feeling as though you’ve been “hit by a truck”) due to the body’s inflammatory response to the trauma of surgery.

Ask your doctor about taking natural anti-inflammatory support to help find relief without hard pharmaceuticals. You may want to begin taking anti-inflammatory supplements on the day of surgery to minimize as much pain as possible.

2. Baby Steps

It’s important to take it slow in the first days after surgery when you are up and walking around again, but it’s also important to perform light exercises for 20 to 30 minutes at a time to rebuild your strength and avoid complications like blood clots from forming.

Wearing compression stockings as you recover is another way to avoid life-threatening blood clots, and your doctor may prescribe blood thinners if she or he feels you’re particularly at risk of forming a clot.

3. Build a Successful Environment

Coming home to a supportive environment is vital to your recovery. After you’re discharged from the hospital and have your home exercise instructions from a physical or occupational therapist, you won’t be able to rearrange your house, so before you go in, prepare your home accordingly.

  • You may need a cane, walker, or wheelchair at first.
  • Be sure to remove tripping hazards like rugs, floor mats, or toys used by children or pets before your procedure as you’ll come home shuffling your feet.
  • Get a long-handled shoehorn so you can safely put on your shoes without bending down (it’s also recommended you avoid crossing your legs for up to 8 weeks after total joint replacement of the hip or hips).
  • Install support rails in your bathroom and bedroom to help you recover safely in the coming weeks.
  • You may need to rely on a family member for care or hire a home nurse.
  • For the first 2 weeks after surgery, you will be at high risk of infection, so have a thermometer available to monitor for fever.
  • You won’t be able to shower until your surgical staples are removed about 10 to 14 days after the procedure, so some shower wipes designed for bathing while camping may help you stay clean and refreshed while you recover.

It’s recommended that you borrow or rent items you’ll only require for the short term to save money and ensure that your home isn’t cluttered with recovery equipment you no longer need after you’re healed.

4. Add Back Activities

It generally takes about 6 weeks before you are able to drive again after a hip replacement. A return to sexual activity also takes between 6 weeks and 2 months, with orthopedic surgeons advising that you hold off on sexual activity until you can move around unaided by a walker—until then your balance and strength are not fully returned.

5. Take Care of Yourself

Once your new joint is operational and you’ve returned to your daily activities, take the best care of yourself as possible by staying active, building strength, and eating well. Superfoods like dark berries and leafy greens are full of anti-inflammatory antioxidants and other powerful nutrients like vitamin K, which aids calcium absorption, a substance that’s all the more important while your bones are healing and adapting.

The Step-by-Step Guide to Hip Replacement Recovery

Amino Acids for Hip Replacement Recovery

There’s one more thing you can eat to speed up the healing process after hip replacement: take an amino acid supplement.

1. Enhance Hip Function

This 2016 study on patients who received elective hip arthroplasty states plainly that essential amino acids “enhance hip function retrieval and improve plasma amino acid abnormalities” after surgery. Amino acids are the building blocks of our skeletal muscles and are irreplaceable when it comes to mending tissue after an invasive procedure like a joint replacement.

2. Reduce Surgical Stress Response

This 2018 review on which nutritional supplements best accelerate recovery after total hip replacement and total knee replacement found that amino acid supplementation helps speed up the return to full function for patients, especially those who are elderly, frail, or undernourished.

3. Prevent Muscle Atrophy

We mentioned that amino acids are the ingredients required for building muscle, an ability that’s all the more valuable in cases of surgical recovery. Due to the long-term recovery involved, muscle atrophy is a very real risk when getting a new hip, and while your physical therapist is there to help you avoid muscle loss, a fully balanced essential amino acid supplement has been proven to help reduce the loss of muscle volume in adults recovering from orthopedic surgery.

Amino Acids for Hip Replacement Recovery

It’s Hip to Be Well

Hip replacement recovery is a lot of work: you have to be on the lookout for signs of infection, you have to move in new ways to avoid dislocating your new hip, and you have to put a lot of your life on hold just to fix this one joint. That being said, a new hip is a new lease on life, and once you’ve recovered you’ll have the opportunity to be stronger than ever.

Without the pain of a deteriorating hip joint, you can return to activities you may have been missing out on for years, you can go from sedentary to stacked at any age, and you can look forward to a long, strong future that does not involve being a bedbound invalid. There’s a light at the end of this tunnel, and you can get there faster with amino acid support.

How Long Does It Take for Stitches to Dissolve? (With 5 Tips to Accelerate Healing)

How long does it take for stitches to dissolve after a surgical procedure? Find out what absorbable sutures are made of, what determines their rate of absorption, and how to help your body heal faster with natural supplements and best recovery practices.

Dissolvable stitches, also called absorbable sutures, are used to close surgical wounds. Absorbable stitches are utilized to aid the healing process without the need for later removal and are often favored over non-dissolvable stitches and staples when it comes to internal wound closure. How long does it take for stitches to dissolve, and what are the top tips to accelerate healing? We have these answers below.

What Are Dissolvable Stitches Made Of?

Dissolvable stitches are among the modern marvels that help doctors and surgeons improve their wound closure techniques, just like skin glue and synthetic skin grafts. These absorbable stitches are often created from natural materials that the body can absorb and break down like silk, hair, and collagen made from animal sources, but certain synthetic materials made from polymers like polyglyconate, polydioxanone, polylactic acid, and polyglycolic acid are also able to be absorbed by the body.

Whether closing up a surgical incision or closing the gums after a wisdom tooth extraction, dissolvable stitches are made to disintegrate after a certain amount of time without the need for medical removal.

How Long Does It Take for Stitches to Dissolve?

Depending on the material used to create your stitches, it can take anywhere between a week to 6 months to dissolve. The variables that determine this amount of time include:

  • Suture size: Thicker sutures take longer to break down and dissolve.
  • Suture material: Sutures made from catgut absorb faster than synthetic absorbable sutures (but may cause more pain in some instances).
  • Type of wound: For deep, wide wounds that need a longer time to heal, surgeons may select a more durable absorbable suture to ensure the material doesn’t dissolve before healing is complete.

When Are Dissolvable Stitches Used?

The type of stitches used in wound closure often depends on the procedure and location of the wound. These are examples of instances when dissolvable stitches are most appropriate.

  • Cesarean deliveries and perineal repair: For the surgical stitching associated with pregnancy and birth, dissolvable stitches may be preferable. This 2014 study shows that women who had C-sections closed with dissolvable sutures had a 57% decrease in wound complications compared to women whose wounds were closed with staples.
  • Oral surgery: Oral surgeons often use dissolvable stitches to close up the gums of their patients after procedures like wisdom tooth removal.
  • Orthopedic surgery: Knee replacements and other types of orthopedic surgeries may benefit from long-dissolving sutures, such as those made with polydioxanone which take roughly 6 months to dissolve.
  • Breast cancer removal: Dissolvable stitches help reduce scaring in instances of tumor and lymph node removal due to breast cancer.
  • Tissue and muscle repair: The advantage of dissolvable stitches for internal surgery and connective tissue repair is that they don’t require a follow-up procedure to remove the stitching.

What Are Dissolvable Stitches Made Of?

How to Care for Dissolvable Stitches

If you’re sent home to heal with visible stitches, follow these aftercare tips.

  • Protect your stitches: Wear protective clothing or bandages to guard the wound area against direct sunlight, but avoid putting pressure on the wound to minimize the risk of reopening it.
  • Keep the area clean: Along with following any specific instructions your doctor provides, gently wash your wound with soap and water (no scrubbing), change any bandages that become soiled or wet, and keep an eye out for any signs of infection such as pus, oozing, swelling, redness, pain, fever, or persistent inflammation.
  • Do not submerge: Avoid taking baths or swimming while your wound heals and avoid showering with the wound for the first 24 hours to keep water from seeping in.

Don’t be alarmed if a stitch begins to come loose; it’s a common occurrence that isn’t dangerous to your health. Call the doctor’s office for advice or visit them for an evaluation if you’re at all concerned with your wound.

If you feel the stitches are ready to come out before they have time to dissolve, it’s important that you do not attempt to pull them out yourself without permission. Ask your GP or nurse practitioner to remove the stitches (if it’s warranted) if it makes you too squeamish to do so yourself.

How to Accelerate Wound Healing

The quicker you’re able to heal after injury or surgery, the faster you can return to your normal activities. Here are a few tips to help speed up your recovery.

1. Amino Acids

Regardless of whether you have non-dissolvable sutures or dissolvable ones, amino acids are required for tissue repair. Amino acids are naturally present in protein foods, but after a surgical procedure, you need more than the usual daily maintenance amount of these fundamental building blocks. For this reason, doctors often recommend that patients increase their protein intake via shakes or supplementation to help their wounds knit back together as quickly as possible.

We suggest using one of our own amino acid blends, which are unique because they contain a full host of the essential amino acids needed for new human muscle and tissue synthesis in a properly balanced ratio.

2. Eat Well

Alongside getting extra protein and amino acid intake while you heal, prioritizing your vegetable intake can also help your body recover faster. Foods such as dark, leafy greens (spinach and kale), beets, and mushrooms help fuel your recovery with nutrients like zinc, copper, and vitamin A.

Additionally, while stitches are necessary for optimal healing, your body still may treat them as foreign invaders and do its best to eradicate the material with an inflammatory immune system response. While you’re shopping for veggies, consider including herbal supplements and other natural inflammation fighters like turmeric, ginger, and green tea to help reduce pain and relieve your wound of unnecessary inflammation.

3. Get Plenty of Rest

While it’s absolutely encouraged that you return to your normal routines and exercise as soon as you’re able, it’s also important to get high-quality sleep each night. By high quality we mean sustained, uninterrupted deep sleep to support the healing process. Research done by the Journal of Applied Physiology suggests that getting a sufficient amount of sleep helps wounds heal faster.

Tips for getting a good night’s rest include going to bed at the same time every night, conducting the same bedtime routines and rituals each evening, and sleeping in a cool, dark, and quiet environment.

4. Avoid Toxins

While you heal it’s especially important to avoid alcohol and tobacco products like cigarettes. Those who smoke while they recover from surgery have an increased risk of infection over nonsmokers, and alcohol is literally a poison that the body must divert energy to for the detoxification process.

5. Tend Your Wound

Keeping your wound clean, dry, and appropriately dressed helps it heal unimpeded. Extra tips for tending to your wound include keeping the surrounding skin moisturized and supple (just be sure not to get any creams or lotion in the open wound), and once it has healed over and any scabbing has fallen away naturally (don’t pick at your scabs—they’re your body’s natural bandaids!), look into products like Mederma and other scar creams to help reduce hyperpigmentation and unsightly scarring.

How to Accelerate Wound Healing

Daring to Dissolve

If you’re going in for a procedure, ask your surgeon his or her plans and preferences for the types of stitches they use when suturing a wound. Sometimes both dissolvable and non-dissolvable stitches are used in the same operation, some internal and some external. The more you know about the material holding you together as you heal, the better prepared you are for proper self-care.

Cold Intolerance: Symptoms, Causes and Natural Solutions

What differentiates cold intolerance from normal winter chills? What are the most common underlying causes of cold intolerance? How can you warm up naturally while you seek professional help? Find out these answers and more.

Cold intolerance is more than the normal feelings of chilliness that come from an autumn or winter’s day. It’s an extreme sensitivity to cold temperatures that may indicate serious underlying health problems. We have the information to help you identify cold intolerance, understand what could be causing it, plus suggestions to help naturally treat this condition.

The Symptoms of Cold Intolerance

Everyone feels cold when the weather is cold, but cold intolerance involves specific physical symptoms that go far beyond simply shivering in the snow. If you are always the coldest person in every room, review these symptoms to find out if you’re experiencing cold intolerance.

1. “Freezing” or Blue Extremities

People with cold intolerance experience what’s described as “icy” cold hands and feet. If your fingers and toes are consistently and inexplicably cold, it could mean you have poor circulation, which itself could indicate a blood vessel problem or other serious underlying health condition. This is especially true if your hands or feet turn blue from a lack of healthy, oxygenated blood flow.

2. Pale Skin

By pale skin, we don’t mean your natural melanin pigment, but the ashen sort of paleness that can accompany conditions such as anemia. Anemia is characterized by a lack of sufficient red blood cell content. If your skin appears waxen or unhealthily pale and you also experience feelings of extreme cold, your body is probably telling you that you’re unwell.

3. Warm Layers Don’t Help

When you’re healthy, bundling up against winter weather or icy-cold air conditioning allows your body to retain the warmth it creates. If you can’t warm up with fuzzy socks, gloves, sweaters, jackets, blankets, etc., it could mean your body isn’t producing the normal amount of heat that proper functioning gives off.

4. Rash Development

Rashes or swelling that develops when you’re exposed to cold environments could be a sign of cold urticaria, which is literally an allergy to cold weather. There are more details regarding this condition in the following section, but symptoms such as rashes or hives in response to cold air is a clear indication that something is wrong.

5. Cold Nose

Most people come in from the cold with rosy cheeks, ears, and noses because blood rushes to those areas when they’re exposed to the frigid air. However, a consistently cold nose is another potential sign of underlying dysfunction, just like chronically cold hands and feet. Specifically, Raynaud’s disease or phenomenon could be the underlying cause, as it’s a condition that affects the smaller vessels in your fingers, toes, and nose.

The Symptoms of Cold Intolerance

Possible Causes of Cold Intolerance

If you suspect your abnormal sensitivity to cold means your health is compromised, seek the advice of a board-certified medical professional. A physical examination coupled with a clear description of your symptoms could help your health care provider narrow down the issue and get you the proper treatment. These are some of the common conditions associated with cold intolerance.

  • Anemia: Iron deficiency and low levels of vitamin B12 can lead to anemia, which is characterized by a lack of sufficient healthy red blood cells. Without enough red blood cells to transport oxygen throughout the body, the extremities become cold and blue among other symptoms including breathlessness, cramps, and fatigue.
  • Raynaud’s disease: Raynaud’s phenomenon and other vascular conditions restrict normal blood flow to your extremities, causing them to feel cold and sometimes turn blue from lack of oxygenated blood flow.
  • Anorexia nervosa: Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that involves unhealthy calorie restriction to the point of starvation and can result in malnutrition, anemia, and having very little body fat, each of which could cause symptoms of cold intolerance.
  • Disordered hypothalamus: The hypothalamus (located at the base of the brain) acts as a thermostat for your body temperature to help you warm up or cool down based on your environment. The hypothalamus also helps direct your thyroid gland via hormone creation.
  • Underactive thyroid: The thyroid (a butterfly-shaped gland at the base of the neck) regulates metabolism and the calories burned for energy, fuel, and heat. Hypothyroidism occurs when you don’t have enough thyroid hormones for normal function, and feeling unnaturally cold may be one of the symptoms along with dry skin, fatigue, unexplained weight gain, depressed mood, constipation, thinning hair, or irregular periods in women.
  • Fibromyalgia: This chronic condition consists of full-body musculoskeletal pains and aches surrounding trigger point areas. Fibromyalgia’s other symptoms include fatigue and cold intolerance.
  • Cold urticaria: Also known as “cold hives,” cold urticaria causes large, itchy red welts to form on the skin (particularly the hands and feet) as a response to cold exposure.
  • Frostbite: Any area of skin that has been frostbitten is always more susceptible to cold and more likely to suffer from frostbite again if not protected from cold temperatures.

Diagnosing cold intolerance usually involves a doctor taking your medical history, calling for blood tests and possible hormone level tests, and evaluating your health information in toto. If there is an underlying condition that can be treated, your medical record will travel with you as you are referred to either a psychological or internal medicine specialist, whichever is appropriate for you.

Treatment Options for Cold Intolerance

Depending on your diagnosis, medical treatment will vary, but here are some general natural aids you can apply at home that may help you feel better—and warmer—faster.

1. Amino Acids

Amino acids are necessary for hormone creation and regulation in the thyroid, and while most amino acids stay stable in cases of iron deficiency, the essential amino acid lysine is compromised by prolonged iron starvation and anemia.

Moreover, amino acids are needed for the survival of endothelial cells that line our blood vessels. This means that above and beyond building and maintaining muscle cells in our bodies, essential amino acids (EAAs) also play a role in three of the most common causes of cold intolerance and are a natural way to boost your health and strength.

For those suffering from malnutrition due to anorexia, amino acid supplementation may help rebuild musculature during treatment, but ask your doctor before adding any new dietary supplement to your intake in such a case.

2. Iron and B12 Foods and Supplements

Iron and vitamin B12 deficiencies are the two leading culprits when it comes to anemia. Each of these nutrients can be easily supplemented or found naturally in foods.

  • Iron foods: Consume nuts like cashews, legumes like lentils, veggies like spinach, and animal foods like eggs to naturally boost your iron intake.
  • Vitamin B12 foods: Vitamin B12 is found in animal foods like meat, dairy, poultry, eggs, and fish, and is included in fortified breakfast cereals for vegans and vegetarians since it is not generally found in plant foods.

That being said, if the issue with these deficiencies isn’t lack of intake but lack of absorption, you still need to work with a medical professional to find out what the underlying issue may be.

3. Artificial Warmth

Whatever is causing your cold intolerance, here are simple ways to warm up ASAP while you seek and pursue medical treatment.

  • Hand warmers: Chemical hand-warming packets or electrically charged hand-warming “eggs” can be purchased and carried around to help warm your hands in the winter and beyond. These products can help relieve your discomfort and draw blood flow to your fingers.
  • Hot beverages: Hot water with lemon and honey is great for a sore throat, and also for quickly warming up your body. The membranes of your mouth absorb heat quickly, and swallowing warm liquid (tea, coffee, hot cocoa) directly warms your esophagus and increases the temperature in your torso.
  • An electric blanket: At home or in the office, an electric blanket can help warm your feet, legs, and body with heat generated from an electrical outlet.

4. Sleep Well

Sleep deprivation has been scientifically shown to interrupt your body temperatures, and while the mechanisms are not fully understood, getting a good night’s sleep may help you defeat cold intolerance. Theories suggest it could be due to sleep’s link with our metabolisms, but whatever the reason, consistently cozy nights of sleep could warm you up throughout the day.

5. Stay Hydrated

Water makes up about 60% of the adult human body and helps regulate our temperatures just as much as hormones and the brain do. When sufficiently hydrated, your body is better able to trap and regulate heat, while dehydration (more likely in cold, dry winter weather) leaves all of us more susceptible to extreme temperatures, especially those with cold intolerance.

Treatment Options for Cold Intolerance

Don’t Tolerate Cold Intolerance

It’s easy to assume you’re cold all the time because that’s just the way you are built, but if cold intolerance is a persistent, chronic complaint all year round, and especially if it’s a new development, consult a health care professional to rule out underlying medical conditions. Worst-case scenario you gain peace of mind, and best-case scenario you discover a problem before it becomes a disaster, and find a way to warm up and be more comfortable in your own skin.